The freestanding New Tampa branch of the USF Federal Credit Union on BBD Blvd., just south of the Pasco County line, is a model for new branches being built in other areas.

The year 2019 already has been a year of celebration for the USF Federal Credit Union (USF FCU). It’s the organization’s 60th anniversary, marking six decades since it was founded in 1959 and its continued growth and service to its members ever since.

The credit union’s growth is evidenced by the brand-new branch that now serves New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, located at the northwest corner of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and Imperial Oak Blvd., in the Trout Creek area in front of Winn-Dixie, just south of County Line Rd.

The New Tampa branch opened last fall, celebrating its Grand Opening on November 15. When it opened, it was the USF FCU’s first stand-alone, off-campus branch. In the next 18 months or so, the credit union will open two more branches modeled after the one in New Tampa – one on E. Fletcher Ave. in Tampa and one in Sarasota.

The credit union’s growth also is evidenced by its ever-expanding membership.

When it was founded in 1959, the USF FCU started with 16 members — all of whom were members of the academic faculty or staff at the University of South Florida — and had total assets of $505.

“Now, we have more than 60,000 members and $680 million in assets,” says Bill Steiger, brand and promotions manager for USF FCU.

While USF FCU originally served only faculty and staff, current USF students and alumni are eligible to be members, along with employees of certain companies that have business partnerships with USF, such as Tampa General Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, and even Darden Restaurants, due to a merger with that company’s credit union back in 2015.

A complete list of 42 affiliated companies is available at usffcu.com/eligibility#affiliates.

“If you graduate from USF,” says Steiger, “you can bank with us your whole life.”

Many people do. In fact, Steiger says that about 2,500 members live in and around New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. To find out if you’re eligible to bank at USF FCU, visit usffcu.com/eligibility.

Typical? Hardly!

The USF FCU offers typical personal banking services — from checking and savings accounts, to money market accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit), auto loans, home loans, personal loans and more.

But, Steiger says, those services are not offered in a typical way.

“We are member-focused,” he explains. “Our members are our number one priority, and providing service to them is job one.”

Myresha Daniel is one of those members who says she appreciates the difference. Myresha says she opened her first account at USF FCU when she was a college student more than 20 years ago. She says she uses the credit union for all of her banking needs, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, a car loan, credit card, and previously had a personal loan that she paid off. 

“You hear about astronomical fees from the big banks,” she says, like her friends who have to keep a minimum balance of $500 and get charged a fee if they fall below that. “My account minimum is $5.”

She says other perks include having a free consultation with a financial advisor who helped her better understand her 401(k), and a personalized car-buying program where she not only got the lowest rate out there, but also an assigned representative to meet her at the dealership and walk her through all the paperwork. 

“They even send you a card on your birthday,” she says. “The representatives at the call center are great. I like the fact that they know my nickname, they recognize my voice, and we have built a relationship over time.”

In addition to calling the credit union, the USF FCU offers robust online and mobile banking services that allow their members to bank digitally from anywhere at any time. Plus, anyone in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel can easily access the local branch for face-to-face services.

“The branch in New Tampa is state-of-the-art,” says Steiger. “We offer all of our services there. You can walk in and talk with someone about getting a mortgage or auto loan, or anything else you need.”

Steiger says the credit union provides many auto loans for its members. Personal loans also are popular.

“When people want to consolidate their bills,” he says, “they come to us to get a low rate and achieve some savings.”

He says the rates for USF FCU loans are extremely competitive, which lowers the amount of money members pay in the long run. “I would encourage any readers who want to refinance or buy a new home, talk with us first,” he says. “We are currently offering great rates and special programs, including some loan programs that have no closing costs to close on the loan.”

Diane Dwornik is an Arbor Greene (in New Tampa) resident who became a member of the credit union when her husband Julian began working at USF in 1970.

“Our experience over the years has been phenomenal,” she says. “I’ve never had loans anywhere else.”

Although Julian has since passed away, he was a founding member of the USF medical school and went on to become dean of admissions for the school.

“When you’re a member, you’re a family member,” says Dwornik, explaining that she’s never felt like she’s just a customer of a bank.

“You get personal treatment,” she says, “I’ve always been treated so well and anyone I’ve recommended to the credit union has thanked me over and over again.”

While USF FCU offers the latest in digital banking technology, that personal touch means someone like her — who has no interest in online or mobile banking — can call and ask for help with all of her banking needs.

“At the end of the month,” Diane says, “I call them and they help me pay my mortgage and other bills.”

“We’re all treated just like family,” she adds. “That is so rare today.”

The New Tampa branch of the USF Federal Credit Union is located at 20610 BBD Blvd. The lobby is open Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m.–1 p.m on Saturday. The drive-through opens at 8 a.m. weekdays. For additional information, visit USFFCU.org or call (813) 569-2000.

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